Jet set to become golf set

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By Sean Dudley

The famous winter resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, host of the 1956 Winter Olympics and home to the Italian jet set and glitterati, is finally to acquire an 18 hole golf course.

The project was initiated in 2000 by Giorgio Carriero of the Associazione Golf Cortina, but even preliminary approval proved difficult to gain.

The course has been designed by Peter Harradine with the support of local civil architect Silvio Bernardi, ecologist Stefano Reniero and staff members Paolo Luongo and Inaki de la Cuadra.

The team has had to overcome many obstacles and obstructions. Merely constructing a golf course wasn't enough: it had to be a sustainable mountain golf course because of the ecological sensitivity of the area.

The conditions specified by local ecologists, environmentalists and authorities for the prospective golf course added complexity to an already difficult task. The sheer volume of drawings, reports, sketches, investigations, certificates, certifications, examinations and procedures addressed, created, passed and obtained during construction was astounding. The design team agreed that such difficulties exceeded anything that they had previously experienced, despite Harradine Golf 's long experience in Switzerland and Germany, where ecological and environmental regulation is extremely strict.

"The course meanders through majestic pine trees and two natural biotops that will now, ironically, find guaranteed protection mainly because the project has alerted the authorities to the sensitive nature of these areas which will benefit from a heightened surveillance during the construction and maintenance of the course," says Peter Harradine. "Ecosystems will be protected and this project will ensure that golfers enjoy an intimate contact with nature normally reserved only for people who actually seek such experiences by walking amongst the treasures offered by this particular environment."

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